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Patriots still unsure when Gronk will be ready for contact

Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski throws a football during a stretching and drills session before NFL football practice begins at the team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. The Patriots host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)


Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was medically cleared to practice before the start of training camp, but he still hasn’t participated in any full-contact work.

According to the Patriots’ website, it remains a mystery when Gronkowski will be able to go all-out in contact drills, and whether he will play at all in the preseason. But Gronkowski sounds confident about his recovery from the torn ACL that ended his 2013 season.

“I’m going full-speed in the drills I’m doing, but they’re just limiting the drills I can do. Most likely, when I’m cleared for contact, it will be full-go, too,” Gronkowski said.

Gronkowski said he and the team just want to exercise caution to make sure that he’s fully healthy when the season starts.

“Just a little time off to let the knee heal a little bit more. You know, you can’t always be grinding on it 24/7 off an injury. You have to let it heal,” he said. “I’m feeling better since the time off, so, it’s going well. My body kind of needed it, my knee needed it, that rest, when they went to Virginia. It was good progress.”

In the two years since Gronkowski’s breakout 2012 season, he’s been so plagued by injuries that he’s missed as much playing time as he’s participated in. But when Gronkowski is on the field, he’s one of the best offensive threats in the league. The Patriots just want to make sure Gronkowski is healthy when the games count.